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Why You Don’t Need a Stick Doctor to String Your Sticks
Why You Don’t Need a Stick Doctor to String Your Sticks
Tue Aug 29 2017 | Cody Hornung | Fuel
This article appears as part of the “Myth Busters” package in the September/October edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Don’t get the mag? Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription.
People marvel at the stringing they see on Instagram or on YouTube. Coming from the lax nerd who created the Stringers Union, there are some awesome setups that have been posted on the internet, and most of us are capable of replicating them.
For some people, stringing might seem too daunting or time-consuming. And it just so happens that little Greyson from down the street will string up a head for you for $15 (strings included) because your kid plays varsity at the local prep school.
But for the parents of players living outside of the hotbeds, the stringing geek down the street is difficult to come by, as is a local lacrosse store that will string up your kid’s stick. However, you don’t exactly have to be employed by NASA or be a washed up Eagle Scout to figure out how to string a lacrosse stick. Sure, some patterns are more difficult than others, but for the most part stringing is tying a knot and wrapping it around some plastic.
Before jumping in head first, I’m going to give you a little bit of criteria for the dynamics of a well-strung head for a young player:
Mesh is stretched tight across the top of the head.
Pocket begins to form at top shooter.
Deepest part of the pocket is in the middle of the head and is less than a ball deep.
Top shooter is tightest, and each gets looser as you go down.
If one of these things isn’t true, you have some work ahead of you. But there’s good news for you: 1. You’re not alone in this; and 2. The internet.
You could do what I did, which in a roundabout way was to stare at grainy photos of players’ sticks to try to replicate their whack string jobs. Or, you could go online to many stick stringing tutorials to find out how to string the stick your young buck is playing with.
On the STX YouTube channel, you will find videos of some of my colleagues and I teaching people how to string, along with a map of what the heck we are doing, or you could watch other fantastic YouTube videos and learn techniques even I haven’t tried. It’s like you’re putting together a Nordli shelf from Ikea with a manual and bonus video instruction, but none of which are in Swedish.
My point is that stringing isn’t “daunting,” but another D word: doable. So, before you spend $40 on another string job, go order a spool of sidewall and shooters, and learn to string a stick. I will leave you with one tip that will save you a trip to the junk drawer for some bandages: Lick your fingers before touching hot strings.
Good luck, and hope to see you in January at LaxCon in Baltimore.
Cody Hornung is the category brand manager for men’s lacrosse at STX.
How To String A Lacrosse Goalie Head: An Illustrated Guide
It’s very important for all goalies to learn how to string a lacrosse goalie head.
You don’t want to be dependent on another player or coach to string a stick for you.
Take the responsibility to learn how to string your own stick and you’ll eventually be able to create a great goalie stick that gives up few rebounds and makes accurate outlet passes.
When it comes to stringing a lacrosse goalie head, there’s more than 1 way to skin that cat. Lots of string doctors have their own method and each serves its purpose.
Need this guide to go? Download a free PDF version of How To String A Lacrosse Goalie Head: An Illustrated Guide by clicking here. You’ll also get a ton of other free stuff for joining the email list. No spam, ever.
Below is my illustrated guide on how I like to string my goalie sticks.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Before starting the stringing process, you assemble all the materials you’ll need.
Here is the checklist –
- Goalie Head – I prefer the STX Eclipse but there are several great goalie heads.
- Goalie Mesh – I prefer 12 Diamond Goalie mesh. Other options are 10 Diamond Goalie Mesh, or 20 Diamond Goalie Mesh. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons so select what works best for you.
- Sidewall Strings
- Shooting Strings
- Scissors or a Knife
I like to precut the sidewall and shooting strings before starting so I’m not working with a large spool. I think this makes the process go a lot smoother.
Step 2: Spread Open the Mesh Holes
Using your hands grab either side of the mesh and spread open the mesh holes. Do this for the entire piece of mesh, from the top to the bottom.
Mesh should be nice and loose, all the way down.
Step 3: Fold the top 2 rows of diamonds together
Fold the top 2 rows of diamonds together as noted in the picture below.
Place mesh against the stick so the rough side of mesh will be touching the ball. Smooth side of the mesh goes on the back of stick.
Step 4: String Top Lace Starting with Center
- Fold top lace in half and put two ends together
- Take the two ends and placed them through the center hole of the mesh
- Go through the top center hole of the goalie head with both pieces entering from the front side of the head.
- Then take both ends and pull them back through the loop of the top string.
- Make sure the mesh and knot are nice and centered and then pull this part tight to form your first knot
Step 5: String Top Lace Starting working your way out from the center
Next we’ll continue to string the top working our way out from the center to one side. Here’s the steps to string each hole.
- Take the lace and go through the back of the next hole on stick
- Pull that lace through the mesh hole
- Pull the knot tight
- Go through the same mesh hole and then back through same goalie head hole entering on front side.
- Pull string through the loop created and pull it tight
- As you work your way out, continue to pull the knots tight
Repeat this process until all holes along the top of the goalie head are strung. Remember: work your way out from the center.
Step 6: Secure top corners
Now we should have all of the top goalie head holes string like so:
Our next step is secure the corners which is very important so that the ball doesn’t hit the plastic when you throw. This causes erratic outlet passes.
- Place top string through end mesh hole and then through the goalie head hole as seen in the picture below. Pull it tight.
- Take the corner piece of mesh, loop it over the stick head, come down with the string and go through the goalie mesh hole.
- Pull it back through the next lowest hole on the goalie head making sure its very tight.
- Now tie a tight know, and then another knot (double knot) to ensure the string won’t pull through the hole.
- Repeat on the other side
Step 7: String the Sidewalls
With the top of the stick now complete, we’ll start to string our sidewalls.
- Start by double knotting your sidewall string and pulling tight through first goalie sidewall hole. Knot is on the outside of the head.
- Next we’ll put the end of the of the sidewall string through the mesh hole and pull sidewall string through the next lowest goalie head hole.
- Then take end of string and place through next lowest goalie mesh hole
- While stretching the mesh downwards, we’ll pull our new know tight against the sidewall
- Continue this process all the way down the stick. For the 1st 3 sidewall holes pull it extremely tight, then for the remaining sidewall holes you can pull tight but not extreme. This will help create a nice pocket.
- Once we’re out of sidewall holes, place the string through the next lowest goalie mesh hole and then again through the next lowest goalie mesh hole below that one
- Place string through top hole of next of goalie head as seen in the pic below
- Pull it tight and then tie it off with a double knot.
- Repeat the same process on the other side.
This is what our sidewalls should look like:
Step 8: Form the channel with a ball
Once sidewall sides are complete, we’ll take a lacrosse ball and start forming the pocket. Bang the ball into the pocket to loosen up the mesh.
Do this up and down the pocket on the front side and then flip the stick over and repeat on the back side.
Step 9: String Bottom of the Stick
Here are the steps to string the bottom of the mesh to the stick. We’ll use a shooting string to accomplish this step.
- With the shooting string we’ll go through bottom hole below were our shooting strings are and then up through the throat. Tie off the end with a double knot.
- In the goalie mesh, enter the shooting string into hole you used last on the sidewall string.
- Then do a traditional weave all the way across
- Put shooting string back through throat hole and then bottom hole, essentially reserving item 1 of this step. Wait to tie off this string until we add the twist knot described below.
This is what it should look like:
Next we’ll add a custom twist knot. We’ll use a sidewall string for this step.
- Enter shooting string into very bottom hole, tie it off with a double know and pull it tight
- Now enter sidewall string into the same hole that the shooting string is in. It’s going to be a tight fit and you’ll probably need to use a knife to get the sidewall string all the way through
- Find center 3 diamonds and bring sidewall string through. Start a weave only on the center 3 holes.
- Next, loop end of string around to do a little weave. You can do this twice if you want, I’ll stick with just one.
- Next we’ll go back through the other hole where our shooting string is and out the very bottom hole, essentially reserving item 1.
- Before tying off the strings, punch the pocket out to get a nice deep pocket.
- Now tie off the shooting string and then tie off the sidewall string, both with double knots
Here’s our end result at this point:
Step 10: Add Shooting Strings
There’s lots of options for the design of shooting strings. Essentially these strings function to keep the top of the mesh stiff to aid in throwing.
The design I like to use consists to a top sidewall string and two traditional shooting strings below:
- First put string through sidewall and then weave the string through the mesh
- Find same sidewall hole on opposite side of the stick and put string through.
- Weave string back across and pull nice and tight
- Tie off the string with a double knot.
- Repeat for each shooting string you want in your stick. As you go lower the laces should be less tight. The tightest string is on the top otherwise your stick will have some nasty whip and won’t throw right.
Step 11: Snip and Burn
Our stick stringing is just about complete. The final step is cut all extra string from our sidewall and shooting strings. For each end that you cut use a lighter to burn the edges so that the strings never fray.
Here is our final product:
If you prefer to learn how to string your lacrosse goalie head by watching a video, there are several good ones from YouTube that demonstrate the stick stringing technique I’ve described above.